Friday, August 22, 2014

Review of _The Night Circus_, by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What to say aboutThe Night Circus... Other than that it is a lavish, sensory tour-de-force, a sumptuous fin-de-si├Ęcle fantasy, a tale about magic that manages a magic all its own.

Erin Morgenstern made a wise choice in situating her opulent story at the turn of the twentieth century, in the waning years of the Gilded Age. This gaslit, Victorian landscape readily lends itself to the type of baroque, densely descriptive narrative that helps Morgenstern achieve and maintain such an exquisite hold on her created world. The territory has been well scouted before her, of course, by the likes of E. L. Doctorow (The Waterworks) and Mark Helprin (A Winter's Tale). Something about the exuberance of the era, coupled with its hidden decadence and its fascination with the unknown--both scientific and occult--allows one to believe that a flight of fancy such as Morgenstern spins here could actually find a hiding place among the gaudy folds of the times. One wants to believe that it all really happened--that it is still happening.

Go and get your ticket to The Night Circus. But be careful: you may be tempted to stay past closing time.

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